Former Trump campaign adviser Richard Gates pleaded guilty on Friday afternoon as part of a deal with special counsel Robert Mueller in his investigation into Russian interference in the election.
Gates pleaded guilty to two charges brought against him by Mueller’s team in federal court in Washington, D.C. He pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy against the United States and one count of making a false a statement to the FBI agents investigating Russian interference.
According to the criminal information filed by Mueller on Friday shortly before Gates pleaded guilty, Gates lied to federal investigators about the contents of a March 2013 meeting during which former Trump campaign adviser Paul Manafort, an unnamed member of Congress reported by the L.A. Times to beRep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), and an unnamed lobbyist discussed Ukraine.
Mueller filed the criminal information one day after he unveiled a new superseding indictment charging Gates and Manafort with a slew of financial-related crimes stemming from their work for pro-Russian political forces in Ukraine over the last decade. The alleged crimes are unrelated to the work Manafort and Gates did for the Trump campaign.
Mueller accused the two longtime business associates of laundering over $30 million dollars in income that they hid from the U.S. government.
Speculation has mounted over the past week that Gates would plead guilty and cooperate in Mueller’s probe, making him into a key witness who could testify in the criminal case against Manafort. The development is expected to ratchet up pressure on Manafort himself to cooperate in Mueller’s probe.
Manafort, who resigned as Trump’s campaign chairman in August 2016 after reports surfaced about his work for Russian-backed Ukrainian oligarch Viktor Yanukovych, could offer key details about the campaign relevant to Mueller’s broader inquiry into whether Trump campaign associates colluded with Moscow.
Gates served as Manafort’s deputy on the campaign and went on to work for Trump’s transition team.
Source: The Hill
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